Zellig Harris

Zellig Harris (October 23, 1909 - May 22, 1992) was an American linguist. Originally a Semiticist, he is best known for his work in structural linguistics and discourse analysis. Born in Balta, Ukraine, he and his family moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1913. A student in the Oriental Studies department, he received his bachelor's (1930), master's (1932), and doctoral (1934) degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He began teaching at Penn in 1931, and would go on to found the first linguistics department in the United States there in 1946. His best-known student at Penn was Noam Chomsky. Others included Fred Lukoff, Joseph Applegate, Leila Gleitman, John Ross, and Bruce Nevin.

His works include:

  • Origin of the Alphabet (M.A. thesis, 1932)
  • A Grammar of the Phoenician Language (Ph.D. dissertation, 1936)
  • Development of the Canaanite Dialects: An investigation in linguistic history (1939)
  • Methods in Structural Linguistics (1951)
  • String Analysis of Sentence Structure (1962)
  • Mathematical Structures of Language (1968)
  • Papers in Structural and Transformational Linguistics (1970)
  • A Grammar of English on Mathematical Principles (1982)
  • Language and Information (1988)
  • The Form of Information in Science: Analysis of an immunology sublanguage (1989)
  • A Theory of Language and Information: A mathematical approach (1991)
  • The Transformation of Capitalist Society (1997)

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